Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Teaching Breakthrough

Yesterday was a frustrating teaching day on new campus with one hour of greatness. I have been having difficulties teaching non-English majors, but finally I had a breakthrough.

During my second hour of class I had my first and only good hour in the whole semester, a semester fraught with failure after failure of activities. I used an activity on the Peace Corps China Wordpress Site. The activity of listening to a story and making decisions about what to do about a monster attacking the city has been an all around success. It can be made more difficult and can be made easier depending on the class level. In my English-major freshmen listening class, giving each student their own character to act out was successful. With my non-English majors just having the students as leaders of the university think about what to do was a success.

Finally my non-English major students sprung to life laughing, gasping, and speaking English!

Hopefully this is the start of many breakthroughs after weeks of failure after failure of being able to engage the students. I have tried activity after activity in my teaching bag of tricks only to be met with empty stares and penetrative silence.

The best parts about teaching on new campus are

1. I get to bike 45 minutes a day.

2. Students who take initiative and ask about how to volunteer and whether or not we can start some type of club on new campus. I am always looking for ideas initiated by the community.

(If you want to read a longer detailed rant about my frustrations, just pop me an email and I'll send it.)

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